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Manga Review: "Fate/Zero," Vol. 2

Natalie is a writer who works at her local library. She enjoys writing reviews, watching anime and TV shows, and playing video games.

"Fate/Zero" manga, Vol. 2 cover.

"Fate/Zero" manga, Vol. 2 cover.

Quick Info

  • Author: Shinjiro
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Manga
  • Page Count: 184
  • Published: June 28th, 2016
  • Availability: Download on Kindle or buy at Amazon or RightStufAnime, purchase on Dark Horse Digital

Story Summary

Saber and Lancer introduce themselves, and after some banter, they begin to fight. Meanwhile Kiritsugu Emiya spies on them from a vantage point, seeking the best course of action to win the fight by taking out Lancer’s Master Kayneth El Melloi Archibald.

As the fighting intensifies, the Servants discover clues about the other’s identity; will the battle swing in Saber or Lancer’s favor?

The Story Has Excitement and Intensity

The story has truly begun with the second battle of the Fourth Holy Grail War. The fights are intense and exciting. It’s a fun and exciting manga with a lot of action in this volume compared to volume 1.

Everyone that enjoyed the anime will most likely enjoy the manga. The story itself is only a small section of each episode of the anime; it doesn’t quite end where the anime episodes end, but the pacing of the manga is different from the anime.

The story has a lot more going on in this volume compared to the previous volume, which was mainly exposition-heavy. While this volume isn’t nearly as exposition-heavy, it’s still there, and it’s a flaw that both the original light novel and the anime adaptation have.

The story starts to get into character’s heads and show us what they’re thinking and that’s really fun and exciting to read, although it can get very wordy at some points.

The Art Is Great, but Can’t Match Ufotable’s Animation!

The artwork by Shinjiro is excellent. The art designs look great and the art captures the action sequences very well. It is not a substitute for the Ufotable anime adaptation as that is the superior version between the two. But the manga adaptation is certainly nice to look at.

The artwork and character designs are all very detailed and the drawings are nice to look at. All the character designs look similar to their anime and light novel counterparts when it comes to the illustrations so the manga is a visual treat but can’t quite match the anime.

The artwork for the fight scenes is definitely top-notch, but the anime is definitely more exciting because of the fluid animation for the fights.

Saber dueling Lancer in battle.

Saber dueling Lancer in battle.

The Manga Has Excessive Info dumping

The manga also falls prey to flaws from previous adaptations of Fate/Zero; it feels the need to info dump all the important information on the reader through text rather than using the visual medium of manga to show rather than tell the audience information. Although Ufotable decided to go with a “show don’t tell” approach with future Fate adaptations, the manga decided it needed to follow the anime and light novel very closely. Sometimes, it feels like they’re trying to fit too much text onto the manga pages.

If I wanted to read a lot of text, I would just read the original light novel by Gen Urobuchi.

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The Manga Over-Explains the World-Building

The manga can sometimes become bogged down in world-building. It’s a flaw of not just Fate/Zero, but Fate/Stay Night as well.

While some readers enjoy detailed explanations and world-building, to others it can just feel like the writers are trying to over-explain everything because they feel like the audience has to know every little detail of how magecraft works in this world.

The sheer amount of information overload can come off as pretentious and annoying to some readers, which is why the Fate franchise has a reputation for being hard to get into, and the never-ending debates about what you should watch or read first.

The Pacing Can Feel Slow

Depending on how fast you read, Fate/Zero Volume 2 can feel very slow, especially when you are not reading anything that has to do with characters’ thoughts and emotions. When it comes to the info-dumping sections of the story, the pacing can feel very tedious. While the fight scenes and inner monologues are fun and interesting, the manga has uneven pacing even compared to the anime.

Lancer knows Saber's identity.

Lancer knows Saber's identity.

The Manga Is Fun, but the Anime Is Better

While I have read that for some newcomers to the Fate franchise that this manga was their first exposure to the franchise and that they enjoyed it a lot, I feel that while this is a fun adaptation, I feel the anime handled some things much better than the manga.

The manga isn’t bad by any means; I just feel that such an action-oriented story is more suited to the animated medium or even the original light novel where Gen Urobuchi could go into as much detail as he wanted to in his descriptions.

The manga is still a great read and a lot of fun to look at, but it does have many flaws that carried over from previous adaptations that could have been handled better, especially when it comes to showing instead of just telling in the medium.

Reader Poll

Quick Summary

What WorksWhat Doesn't Work

Great story and characters

Excessive info-dumping

Excellent artwork

Overly focused on world-building

Is an excellent way to get into the franchise, don't need previous experience with the anime

Slow, uneven pacing

My Grade: A-

While I do love this franchise, it’s not a flawless work no matter which medium it is being adapted in, whether a light novel, an anime or a manga.

The Type-Moon universe and their creators, Kinoko Nasu and Gen Urobuchi tend to over explain their universe. Type-Moon tends to be so in love with lore and world-building that it tends to overshadow some of their work to the detriment of the characters in it.

While some of the characters they have created have excellent stories and some of them are put on the backburner unless they become relevant to the plot.

Fate/Zero Volume 2 is an excellent manga that has both a great story and great artwork. It is worth your time and money to buy. Now whether you decide to buy a physical copy or a digital copy is up to you, but digital copies for both Kindle and Dark Horse Digital can be more expensive up front while physical copies can go on sale on websites and be much cheaper, depending on if you buy enough to qualify for free shipping.

I highly recommend this manga, it is worth your time and money to buy it. I enjoy every volume I read. It’s a lot of fun for me to get the next volume in the male. While this isn’t my favorite manga series ever, I still have a lot of fun reading it.

It’s well worth your time and money to buy the Fate/Zero manga, but if you want to wait for a Dark Horse Comics sale, there’s no problem with trying to get the best deal for your money.

My Rating

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